Saluting composer Lou Harrison at 100

Posted on: August 21, 2017

“Many of the musical and philosophical characteristics that defined Lou Harrison, who would have turned 100 this year, as a quintessential American maverick composer come through in ‘La Koro Sutro’ (‘The Heart Sutra’),” writes Anthony Tommasini in Sunday’s (8/20) New York Times. “Harrison’s early fascination with Eastern spiritual thought and culture culminated in pieces like this 1971 choral work…. He purposefully chose a version of the sutra that had been translated into Esperanto…. I was knocked out by the music’s sheer inventiveness…. [In] Harrison’s 1988 Grand Duo for violin and piano … the aptly named Stampede movement races along like some combination of Asian dance and American hoedown…. In 1995 … the first piece on [Michael Tilson] Thomas’s first program [as music director of the San Francisco Symphony] was a Harrison commission, ‘A Parade for MTT,’ scored for the largest orchestra of any Harrison work, including six percussionists, Javanese gongs and the Davies Hall organ. In its evocation of exuberant parades and bustling crowds, the piece paid homage to … Charles Ives…. Harrison conducted the premiere of the composer’s then-unknown Third Symphony in 1946, a score he had edited from manuscripts.”

Posted August 21, 2017